City groups bring musical Oliver! to Dundee’s Whitehall Theatre

Stars of stage, both young and not-so-young, are joining forces to bring the magical musical Oliver! to Dundee.

Two city groups have been putting themselves through gruelling rehearsals to prepare for the show.

And organisers reckon it will be a real winner with theatre-goers, courtesy of a twist in the tale.

The musical hits the stage at the Whitehall Theatre from September 11-14 and tickets have been selling well.

Jenni Main, of Thomson-Leng Musical Society, said that their version of the Lionel Bart smash hit has a “dark theme” but will still thrill city audiences.

She said: “There is a wide age range involved because we have the musical society and Thomson-Leng Youth Music Theatre working together.

“Our youngest performer is just seven years of age and the oldest is 70.

“Our youth group is celebrating its 21st year and this is the first time for a while that both groups have worked together.

“They normally stage their own shows but this year they are adding Oliver! to the list.

“The Thomson-Leng side of things started with DC Thomson back in 1964 and a few people have gone on to have careers in the business.

“Maggie Lynne, one of our girls who was in Thomson-Leng youth eight years ago, is now in Wicked in the West End. She is originally from Carnoustie.

“And we also have a guy who stars in a couple of shows. His name is Brian James Leys, from Dundee, and he is now in the UK tour of Les Miserables.

“A few members have gone into music, teaching and dancing as careers.”

Jenni, 31, added: “I think it is gong to be a really good show.

“It is not the typical Oliver! and is maybe a little bit darker.

“But it is still family-friendly and the cast has been working really hard in rehearsals.

“It has been nice to see the adults and kids working so well together during rehearsals.

“And it is exciting to see it all coming together.”

Jenni, who is a committee member, has been involved with work on stage since she was 14.

She added: “We really think this is one of our best shows yet and I am sure the audience will agree.

“The Saturday show is only on in the afternoon because in the past we have found a lot of people don’t go out on Saturday nights now due to shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor.

“On the positive side, it helps us in a way because we can start to get the theatre back to normal as people can often still be working until 2am or 3am clearing up.”

The cast includes nine-year-old Maxi McRobbie as Oliver and Archie Turnbull as the Artful Dodger, while the role of Fagin is shared by Raymond Uphill-Wood and Tom Richmond.

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